Polk County's defense will look to slow an East Rutherford attack that has been piling up yards and points in recent weeks

Monday was not the most fun-filled day of practice that Polk County’s football team has had this season.

The Wolverines returned to practice Monday still smarting from last week’s 70-26 loss to Chase. Film review was not enjoyable, upbeat moods were not in ample supply.

“To be honest, I was still ticked off Monday and even a little bit Tuesday morning,” said Polk County head coach Dustin Fry. “Typically, coming off the field Monday you start feeling better. I was still not feeling happy about it.

“But Tuesday was better, and as we get away from it, it gets a little bit better.”

The Wolverines will look to fully erase memories of that setback on Friday as they travel to East Rutherford for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

It will be a matchup of perhaps the two most surprising teams this season in the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference, with Polk (4-4, 3-1) sitting in second place and the Cavaliers (4-5, 3-2) looking to join them there.

It’s also a contest that should quickly draw Polk’s focus. The Cavaliers have been piling up points and yardage of late, including four straight games with 400-plus total yards. For a Wolverine defense that surrendered more than 500 total yards in last week’s loss, those numbers are concerning.

“This is a good offense we’re facing this week that can score a lot of points`,” Fry said. “There’s definitely been some tightening up on the defensive side of the ball.

“Offensively, we’ve just got to execute and extend drives and, hopefully, we can score a bunch of points to help our defense out.”

Helping Polk County find motivation for its trip to Bostic is the stakes that remain in play for the Wolverines. Polk needs one more win to assure itself of a .500 record, thus earning an automatic 1A playoff berth and a probable first-round home playoff game. The Wolverines would also travel to Brevard next week with a chance to earn a share of the MF7 regular-season title.

“We’ve still got a lot on the table,” Fry said. “Obviously, if we win this one, then we can go to Brevard and play for a share of the conference. So we’re just going to keep reminding them that there are a lot of things to play for.”

East Rutherford, which didn’t field a varsity team two seasons ago, will be looking for a win in its final regular-season game to both reach the .500 mark for the season and perhaps position itself for a 2A playoff berth. In addition to its gaudy yardaage numbers, the Cavalier offense has also topped 30 points in each of its last four games, providing another test for the Polk County defense.

“They do what they do, they’re well-coached ,” Fry said. “They’ll take their shots, multiple shots per game. The running back runs really hard, the O-line does a great job blocking and they just run their scheme really well.

“It’s one of those things where we have to be able to take away the things they do well as much as we can. We have to eliminate those deep shots.”